It is the Republic of Ireland turn in Reduced Mobility Rights' study on how National Enforcement Bodies across Europe enforce compliance to 1107/2006.
Unlike with other European countries, the National enforcement body for 1107/2006 is not the Irish Civil Aviation. A separate entity, the Commission for Aviation Regulation, an independent public body under the auspices of the Department of Transport, is the NEB for 1107/2006 in the Republic of Ireland.
"EC Regulation 1107/ 2006 was transposed in Ireland via Statutory Instrument No. 299 of 2008," Patricia Barton, Air Passenger Rights Executive for the Commission for Aviation Regulation tells Reduced Mobility Rights. "On foot of same, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) has to power to issue ‘Directions’ to air carriers, their agents, tour operators or the management bodies of airports in relation to compliance with the legislation. Recipients of a Direction have 14 days to make representations to the CAR. Where the CAR receives representations it must consider these and reply in writing within 2 months of receipt. In its reply the CAR must confirm, vary or withdraw the Direction."
Irish law foresees significant fines for those guilty of breaching EU regulation 1107/2006, which identifies rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.
"When the recipient of a Direction has not made representations, or has made representations and the CAR confirms the Direction with or without variation, and the recipient fails without reasonable excuse to comply with the Direction, an offence is committed and they are liable," Patricia Barton explains. "On summary conviction, the recipient is liable to a fine not exceeding €5,000; or on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €150,000."
"In addition to the above, where an air carrier, its agent or a tour operator contravenes Article 3 or 6(2) of the Regulation, they commit a direct offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 5,000."
Article 3 of the EU regulation concerns the prevention of denial of carriage of a disabled passenger. Specifically, an air carrier or its agent shall not refuse to embark a disabled person or a person with reduced mobility at an airport where the regulation applies, provided that the person concerned has a valid ticket and reservation.
Article 6 concerns transmission of information. Paragraph 2 states that”. When an air carrier or its agent or a tour operator receives a notification of the need for assistance at least 48 hours before the published departure time for the flight, it shall transmit the information concerned at least 36 hours before the published departure time for the flight to the managing bodies of the airports of departure, arrival and transit, and to the operating air carrier, if a reservation was not made with that carrier."
The Commission for Aviation Regulation strictly monitors all airports in the Republic of Ireland to ensure compliance to 1107/2006. "In addition to investigating complaints and answering any queries received in relation to the Regulation, the CAR also conducts regular comprehensive inspections of all commercial airports within the jurisdiction to ensure that the signage, designated points and equipment used meets the standards anticipated by the Regulation," Patricia Barton explains. "Furthermore the CAR monitors compliance by all parties with Article 11 and we monitor compliance with Article 8 of the Regulation by airport management bodies. We review the websites of Irish-licensed carriers to ensure that the information provided on same is both accurate and compliant with Article 4(3)."
All seems well in the Republic of Ireland, at least with concern to compliance with the regulation of airport managing bodies. However, one Irish air carrier stands out for what disability rights campaigners see as legalized discrimination against the disabled. Irish budget carrier Ryanair has a policy in place of carrying a maximum of four disabled passengers with reduced mobility per flight. Ryanair’s Operations Manual, approved by the Irish Aviation Authority, contains the limit of maximum four PRM per flight. Ryanair explained the introduction of the limit as a safety precaution.